A disability should not prevent anyone from using the services of the library. The challenges posed by physical or mental impairments can be daunting for both children and adults, but the services and programs offered by or accessed through the library can benefit and even enrich the lives of individuals who have special needs.
For instance, all children, including those on the autism spectrum, can use the library as an opportunity to develop public behavior skills, such as using a quiet tone of voice, staying out of restricted areas (such as offices), and refraining from running. For those with trouble speaking, asking for materials (or directions to specific areas of the library) is a way to put into practice pre-rehearsed scripts. Also, for those new to the library universe, learning and deciphering the Dewey Decimal system can give anyone a feeling of accomplishment!
The Library offers programs that are inclusive and can integrate children of varying abilities into the wider community. The upcoming program given by certified special education teacher Lisa Joy Walters, “A Circle of Friends”, is specifically designed for children with developmental delays, those along the autism spectrum and other special needs (Monday, July 11 and Wednesday, August 3). We also have our frequent Caregiver and Me sign language program presented by Lisamarie Curley that teaches children how to express themselves before they have verbal mastery (this summer’s theme is “Sports”), but these skills can be used for hearing-impaired children and their caregivers, too.
The Summer Reading Club is another opportunity for children with different ability levels to practice reading and speaking or writing about their books. Reading is important for every individual and should be expected of all children. We have a variety of wordless picture books and audiobooks, both fiction and non-fiction to support each person’s unique interest and capabilities, as well. Materials can be interloaned if we do not have them, and referrals provided for additional resources available to children and families. The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in New York City is Long Island’s resource for the National Library Service which provides free materials by free delivery to visually and/or physically handicapped people. Applications for this service are available at all Suffolk County libraries including the Islip Public Library. You can also call the Suffolk Cooperative Library System and ask for the Talking Books Department at 631-286-1600 to learn more about this free service.
In addition to visiting the Library this summer, the following are resources for recreational activities geared toward children with special needs:
Adler Center for Special Needs- offers Zumba-Yoga and fitness classes along with summer camp options for kids of all ages. http://www.miyjcc.org
Pump It Up in Plainview offers monthly sensory playtime for kids on the spectrum. Call (516) 575-2300 or go to their website calendar for the next date it’s given. (https://www.pumpitupparty.com/plainview-ny/)
Safari Adventure in Riverhead offers a “Sensitive Safari” at 9:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month. Call (631) 727-4386 for more information. www.thesafariadventure.com
K.I.D.S. Plus in Babylon offers a variety of sports programs, including martial arts. http://kidsplusinc.com/programs.
The Miracle League of Long Island (http://old.mllongisland.com) and League of YES in Babylon (www.leagueof yes.com) both offer baseball programs.
Camp Kehilla (www.campkehilla.org) in Wheatley Heights and Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck (camppaquatuck.com) in Center Moriches have special needs programs for children with Asperger’s and ADHD as well as physical disabilities.